Victory Marketing- do they "get" it? - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Victory Marketing- do they "get" it?

I guess this is more of a rant since I would LOVE to have a Vic rep respond to it or would LOVE even more to sit down face to face with someone in their marketing department. (I'll ride up on my dime)

I have many, many years riding a Harley as well as a whole bunch of other bikes. I had no interest at all in Victory motorcyles until I wrote a research paper for a college class on police motorcycles and dunced upon Victory Police Motorcycles. Although I felt that some of the site's comparisons were a bit in your face, overall, it did a great job of getting me interested in Victory motorcycles.

Fast forward a month and I'm at my first Victory demo where I am explaining benefits of the bike to the salesman. He tells me that he just doesn't know a lot about the bikes but they ride great and don't seem to ever come in for mechanical problems.

One month later, demo two, a Fuel it demo. A slightly better staff at this dealership and the Fuel It guys running the truck were active as well. All I hear is "we will never get the Harley guy riding these, so we are trying to attract the metric rider." OK.

Demo three was a great dealership. Knew the bikes fairly well but like everyone else, really didn't know what Victory offered in the way of accessories and / or the cost. I pointed out how to use the button on the front of the controls to scroll through the speedo functions. Once again, the overall feel was that Harley guys are out of reach and Victory will pick up the scraps. I brought two guys with me. Both bought a bike. One traded in his Harley. Different Fuel It truck with fewer bikes, all of which were marginally clean. My wife almost ran out of gas on one run.

Demo four, my last one because I bought a bike. Same Fuel It truck, same condition of the bikes. The staff was running around trying to get people on bikes, the demo truck guys were relaxing. Again though, very little knowledge of what is available for the bikes, and the "fear" of Harley.

In contrasts to the dealer avoiding the "H" word, pick up Victory's brochure and it appears to be a picture book of old roads and buildings that Harley would use in their advertising. I'm not sure if there is a single good picture of a rider on the road on a Victory. The reference to Harley in the brochure is overwhelming. "we have 33% more torque than Harley" is all over the place. "More luggage room then Harley." Not a single dealer felt that they could or would compete with Harley but Victorys marketing won't shut up about them. Instead of placing a nice American flag reminder on the bottom of every page and pushing the Made in the U.S.A. button, Victory says little about that fact. All of the great points that Mike Schultz from Victory Police Motorcycles brings up in regards to being benefits of the bikes is lost on the corporate advertising team. They prefer to talk about the split tail gas tank. First off, split tail is a deragatory name for a female. Second, can we sound anymore like Harley? If you want to be Harley, at least come up with something cool. What's next, Chubby Robert gas tanks? Broad Sashay forks?

Other then the store copy, there was not a single accessories catalog available at the five different dealerships I have visited. Every single dealer spoke of the lack of corporate support given to them from Victory in regards to even having a rep stop buy with updates or sales training.

How is it that a successful company (Polaris) can be so scattered in their marketing direction and dealer support with Victory?

Billy
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 01:23 PM
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I hear you, but Victory has a very strong strategy in its pocket. Hire the dumbest, least knowledgeable, lazy and unprofessional salesmen, to ensure 100% of the credit for sales goes to the product, not the nifty salesmen or their gimmicks.

I apologize for the offensive nature of this post to all salesmen out there. Keep up the good work!

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 02:22 PM
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I worked at a Vic dealership a few years ago and went to a tech class when the Vision was coming out.

This is what the Vic rep said at the time. When Victory first came out with the V92 they were going after a piece of the HD pie. That was a piece that was very crowded with the other brands eating at it to.

Vic decided to bite into a different piece of the pie which brought out the Vegas platform bikes. This was a piece of the pie that no one really was eating at. Which was a major manufacturer semi custom bike.

All that being said, Victory has been doing their homework. When you go to major motorcycle shows like Easyriders etc.. they are dominated by baggers and bobbers. Baggers ARE HD's market. Anyone that builds a bagger is going after the HD pie whether they intend to or not.

So, their marketing strategy has changed again but I think some of the dealers aren't up to speed yet. This is pretty common with Victory dealers not only in marketing but parts and service.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 02:45 PM
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Victory I listening and chances are that they frequent this and other Victory forums. The problem is that listening but you can't expect them to be able to do anything about a Victory dealership that hires the owners high school dropout kids as salesmen because they can't hold down jobs at fast food joints.

Sorry - long sentence. What I'm getting at is Victory contracts the dealerships. The dealerships hire their own employees. If any training is lacking Victory can't be blamed for problems at dealerships; the same thing goes for cleanliness. If the demo truck guys don't have a clue then the Victory is to blaim.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:12 PM
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Victory offers tech training for the dealers and their mechanics. Most dealers don't want to pony up the funds to send their techs.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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I hear you guys on the dealership part of the equation. Harley has broken the code in that regards and reaps the benefits.

When I walk in, the staff will all be dressed in Harley gear and although they might not be able to talk on super technical subjects with me, they will no doubt be able to point me in the right direction, show me the newest and latest Harley whatever it is and more than likely offer me something to drink. (While visiting a Vic, Yam, Honda dealer on my bike with the temp at 102, the response to "Do you have a drinking fountain?" was "No" followed by a walk into the back room) I can't even buy a Victory t-shirt at most dealers.

The Vic dealers, just like most metric dealers, still take Sunday and Mondays off. When 90% of the riding public does so on Saturdays and Sundays, why would you close on Sunday and Monday? Break something and Tuesday from 10-6 is when you can get a replacement.

I guess with such a great product, I expect Victory to demand a bit more out of their dealerships. I don't give a rats [email protected] that the Victory motor has X amount of torque more then Harley on every single page of the brochure. Did Honda, Kaw, BMW and Suzuki go out of business? Those are the buyers that pick up a brochure and want numbers, not the typical Harley guy so why waste the print on every single page?

My point is with motorcycles people generally fall into them gradually. They see one on the street and it catches their eye. They then check out the web or a magazine and in the case of Victory, get a positive response. Next is a trip to the dealership where they are met with blank stares and a brochure which shows empty roads, abandoned buildings and alot of talk about Harley.

Having been self employed for a great deal of my adult life, I know that every word counts and costs in advertising. Why is it wasted on comparisons and cheap Harley rip off nomenclature instead of benefits? Why are your greatest advertisers, the dealership employees not given every opportunity to succeed? All of the dealerships I visited said they rarely see a rep.

I apologize in advance for being so fired up about this, but I just don't get it and it obviously frustrates me.

One more thing....why is our demo tour called Fuel It during a gas crisis?

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 06:11 PM
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Totally the opposite here in Utah. The dealer I purchased my XC from is very professional, knowledgeable, and stocks a good supply of parts and accessories. Excellent service department. I had a much better experience at the Victory dealer than when I went in and talked to the harley dealer. (they were almost as arrogant as emperor obama). I also went to the Arlen Ness Victory dealer in Las Vegas. They are a great dealership. I would not judge the entire Vic dealer network by the few you have been to.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Wesdalton you are right. When it comes to arrogance, it is difficult to beat a Harley dealer. I've dealt with them since the mid 80's when they couldn't give bikes away. At that time, I was a young guy and didn't get respect because of my lack of beard. When I got older, I didn't get it because I wanted to change my oil instead of buy a new bike.

I would expect an Arlen Ness flagship store to be above and beyond.

I'll still stick by my orignal comments though. Victory is nowhere near where they could or should be in regards to dealer / customer relations or marketing. While there might be some shining stars out there, those guys also have to deal with the reputation of the other Vic dealers. I haven't been to all of the dealerships but I've been to a dozen or so in four different states and I'm not really seeing anything to brag about. That shows me a lack of cohesiveness within the system.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 07:14 PM
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Here's my .02...

Victory has changed their marketing approach based on what works or does not work. Taking market share from the metrics WAS a strategy. Taking market share from H-D has ALWAYS been a strategy. What you are noticing is not confused marketing but rather IS multi-threaded targeted marketing (specific marketing to specific segments in order to get their interest AND their next order).

Not all dealerships get this and that is why you have seen differing approaches from differing dealers. My recommendation is that you "vote with your checkbook" by buying only from the most knowledgeable who deserve your discretionary dollar. Those weaker dealers will eventually catch on or will go out of business.

As others have stated, the product is what is superior here, not the sales staff. This approach has worked well for companies like Microsoft and Pepsi Cola. Why wouldn't Polaris leverage it?




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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Well said ndabunka. I can't agree more on the superior product portion either.

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